Articles by Jan Larson McLaughlin

County hears pitch for business incubator to hatch inventors’ ideas

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A business incubator may be set up in Wood County to help local inventors hatch their ideas. The Wood County Commissioners heard a proposal Tuesday morning from Rene Polin, president and founder of Balance, a company that helps entrepreneurs turn their ideas into reality. “You can’t just be a dreamer. You have to be a dreamer with a business plan,” Polin said. And that’s where Balance would come in to the picture. “We want to bring our panache in the industry from Cleveland to Wood County,” Polin said. To do that, Polin needs some type of very basic workspace – something with office space, power and connectivity. “I know that sounds primitive,” but that’s all that’s needed, he said. The firm’s Cleveland space is an old factory building. The firm works with entrepreneurs, helping them assess their plans, fill out necessary paperwork, and determine if the project is worth their time and investment. After all, most inventors aren’t good business people, explained Doug Miller, of the Wood County Economic Development Commission which is working to bring Balance here. “They don’t have any idea how to run a business,” Polin agreed. “We bring the management acumen.” The business incubator can help entrepreneurs determine if there is a market for their product, Miller said. “People get focused on their invention,” but if the public won’t buy it, the idea isn’t going anywhere, he said. Sometimes, the dreams need to be tweaked. “We ask the hard questions,” Polin said. “We don’t kill the dream, but we change their idea of what their dream can be.”…

Board of Elections rules pipeline charter amendment can be on ballot – appeal already filed with Ohio Supreme Court

The anti-pipeline petition for a Bowling Green charter amendment has won a battle to get on the ballot this November. But the opposition has already filed an appeal with the Ohio Supreme Court. The Wood County Board of Elections reported today that it has ruled in favor of the petitioners asking for Bowling Green voters to be able to cast ballots on a charter amendment against pipelines. A hearing was held last week after a city resident, David W. Espen, who is a member of the plumber-pipefitters union, protested the petition. Espen, who was represented by Donald McTigue, of Columbus, said the petitions submitted did not have enough valid signatures, specifically noting the signatures of five BGSU students who used their residence hall addresses rather than their street addresses. The Board of Elections determined the five signatures meet the street address requirement and are valid. Espen’s protest also questioned the constitutionality of the charter amendment, saying it required the city to give citizens authority that the city does not possess. The Board of Elections also concluded the protester had not presented sufficient evidence that the issue should not appear on the ballot. “This is good news,” said Lisa Kochheiser, one of the citizens pushing for the charter amendment. “Now we just have to wait and see if the protester will take it to the Ohio Supreme Court.” That appeal will have to be submitted quickly, since the charter amendment is scheduled to appear on the November ballot in Bowling Green. “There’s a time crunch here,” Kochheiser said. McTigue said late this afternoon that he had already filed an appeal today…

Hotel tax may be hiked to promote BG to more visitors

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green officials want to help fill the local hotel beds, restaurants and stores. But to do that, more funding is needed, according to Wendy Chambers, executive director of the Bowling Green Convention and Visitors Bureau. So on Monday evening, Chambers and the CVB board made a pitch to Bowling Green City Council. They asked council to approve a three-year renewal of the current 3 percent hotel/motel tax, with the CVB continuing to get 60 percent of that tax revenue. The board also asked for an additional 1 percent hotel/motel tax, dedicated to the CVB. Todd McGee, vice chairman of the CVB and general manager at the newly remodeled Best Western Falcon Plaza, explained the tax is paid by visitors to local hotels and motels, and would have no impact on city residents. The additional funding is needed to do more marketing and advertising, to feed the local economy. “This would grow Bowling Green tourism,” McGee said. All the hotel and motel owners in the city support the 1 percent increase, he added. “We are a big destination of sporting events,” with regional youth athletics and BGSU sports filling up local hotels, McGee said. Events such as the Black Swamp Arts Festival, National Tractor Pulling Championships, and concerts also draw overnight guests to the city. “Now is a perfect time for this increase,” McGee said. A new Fairfield Inn recently opened, and another hotel will be constructed soon. His own location, Best Western, just put more than $1 million in renovations. “It is our job to bring people, teams and events to…

New advanced cancer treatment at Wood County Hospital

(Submitted by Wood County Hospital) Wood County Hospital strives to stay at the front end of the changing technology and innovations that enhance patient care. Recently, donations through the foundation funded the addition of advanced cancer treatment technology for the Maurer Family Cancer Care Center. Wood County Hospital is one of a select number of area hospitals that offer this technology. The newly acquired Real-time Position Management™ (RPM) Respiratory Gating equipment is a non-invasive video based positioning assistant used in the process of Respiratory Gating. The equipment continuously monitors the movement of tumors during normal breathing for imaging and treatment of lung, breast, esophagus, pancreas, and stomach cancers. Dr. Robert Lavey, Medical Director of the Maurer Family Cancer Center, explains that “Tumors in the chest and abdomen move as the patient breathes. Respiratory Gating permits us to deliver radiation in pulses when the tumor is in the optimal phase of the respiratory cycle. Our target volume is reduced, because we don’t include areas that the tumor moves through during breathing. The patient’s lungs, heart, and liver therefore get less radiation. We can both intensify treatment of the tumor and produce fewer side effects.” The Real-time Position Management™ (RPM) Respiratory Gating equipment is produced by Varian, the world’s leading developer of radiation therapy delivery systems. The imaging system works by tracking the treatment field through the patients breathing which activates the machine. As the patient breathes, the tumor is examined and the patient’s range of motion is measured during inhaling and exhaling. Once it is determined how the tumor moves, the gating thresholds is set for when the tumor is in…

Anti-pipeline amendment doesn’t belong in city charter, McOmber says

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Just as the environmentalists don’t believe pipelines belong near the city’s water treatment plant, a Bowling Green City Council member doesn’t believe the proposed anti-pipeline charter amendment belongs in the city’s “pristine” charter. The anti-pipeline charter amendment remains in legal limbo – but just in case it’s cleared for the ballot in November, council member Bob McOmber cautioned about the language that may be inserted into the city’s charter. The proposed charter amendment is very difficult to understand, he said. And the portions McOmber does understand, he finds “highly objectionable.” “It’s inappropriate to insert that cause into the city charter,” he said during Monday’s council meeting. McOmber said the local residents behind the anti-pipeline charter amendment are a special interest group. While there is nothing inherently wrong with special interest groups, their views don’t belong in the city’s charter. “The proposal puts the cause of one special interest in the charter,” he said. The city’s charter is “pristine,” and has always been reserved for the mechanisms of city government. “I think it would be a mistake to insert special interests in the city charter,” he said. McOmber referred to the inflated Ohio constitution that has been allowed to grow into a “complete mess and embarrassment.” McOmber mentioned the successful anti-discrimination ordinances adopted by citizens a few years ago. That effort went through council to help with the drafting and adopting of the ordinances. “That is so much more appropriate,” he said. “This would be a mistake for the city.” McOmber, who is not running for re-election, suggested that prior to the election…

Air National Guard Unit to perform night flying

The Ohio Air National Guard’s 180th Fighter Wing in Toledo is scheduled to conduct training flights at night beginning Monday, Sept. 18 through Thursday, Sept. 21, weather permitting. Area residents may see or hear F-16 fighter jets taking off and landing until about 10 p.m. this week. Training flights normally take place during daylight hours, but F-16 pilots and maintenance personnel are required to conduct night operations as part of their overall readiness training.

League of Women Voters to host membership brunch

(Submitted by the League of Women Voters of Bowling Green) The League of Women Voters of Bowling Green is hosting a membership brunch on Saturday Sept. 23, at 9 a.m. at the Wood County Historical Center. Any Bowling Green area resident interested in learning more about League of Women Voters is invited to attend. Please contact Jeanne Langendorfer at 419-575-1454 or to reserve a seat. Reservation deadline is Wednesday Sept. 20. The speakers will be Francis Scruci, superintendent of Bowling Green City Schools, and Brad Holmes, president of Environmental Action Group. In addition, attendees can learn about league study groups and activities for the coming year. League of Women Voters is a nonpartisan political organization which promotes political responsibility through active and informed participation of citizens in government and works to increase understanding of major public policy issues and to influence public policy through education and advocacy.

Former BG family visited by hurricanes Harvey & Irma

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The Sorrells family had two unwelcome guests in the past month – the first named Harvey, followed by Irma. “Stay away from us, we seem to be jinxed,” Larry Sorrells said on Saturday. Larry and Janet Sorrells, longtime Bowling Green residents, moved to Punta Gorda, Florida, in April. Their daughter Jennifer and her family live in Houston, Texas. As Hurricane Harvey approached, Jennifer, her spouse and their daughter, went to Austin for safety. “They were very lucky,” and their home suffered no damage, Larry Sorrells said. But as Larry and Janet Sorrells were worrying about Harvey’s wrath in Texas, Irma showed up on the radar. “We saw this thing for a long time,” but forecasters were uncertain where Irma was headed exactly. “We were glued to the TV” waiting for updates, Sorrells said. “We were watching the storm, and it’s a monster,” leveling some Caribbean islands on its way to Florida. Sorrells is accustomed to preparing for emergencies and public health crises. As the former health commissioner for Wood County, he spent years making sure the public was safe. But this was different. “This is our first hurricane, and maybe our last. I wouldn’t mind that,” he said. “I have a lot of training in emergency preparedness,” Sorrells said. So he and Janet planned ahead and made hotel reservations in Atlanta, Georgia, and they prepared their home with storm shutters and other precautionary steps to be battered by Irma. “There’s a lot of stuff to get ready for these things so you don’t come home to an even bigger mess,” he said….

‘Real Men Wear Pink’ … for an entire month

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Some men are uneasy about wearing pink. Not Ben Batey. And that’s a good thing, considering Batey will be wearing pink every day during the month of October. Batey, Wood County’s health commissioner, has signed up for the American Cancer Society fundraiser called “Real Men Wear Pink.” Ten men from Northwest Ohio were asked to take the pink challenge to raise funds for breast cancer research. Batey is the only one in Wood County. In order to wear pink every day for the month, Batey is having to augment his wardrobe. “My wife went out and bought me a bunch of pink shirts,” he said. “I told her not to go too crazy, it’s just for one month.” Some days it may be a pink tie, or pink socks. So far he hasn’t purchased any pink pants or jackets. Batey was approached to take the “Real Men Wear Pink” challenge by Kami Wildman, outreach coordinator at the county health district. He agreed – and then he saw the rules. “I thought she just meant occasionally,” wearing pink – not every day. “But by then I was committed,” he said. Batey actually doesn’t mind wearing pink. “That’s never been an issue for me,” he said. Batey has decided to take the pink challenge a step further – well, many steps further. He has promised to walk one mile in Wood County for every $100 that people contribute to the cause. “If I’m going to be asking people to contribute and support this cause, I want to do something as well,” he said. The…

Walk for Mental Health and Chili Cook-off planned

(Submitted by National Alliance on Mental Illness) NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Wood County invites chili cooks and connoisseurs alike to its annual Walk for Mental Health and Chili Cook-off Saturday, Oct. 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Perrysburg’s Woodland Park, 429 E. Boundary St. The yearly event allows participants to walk through one of the area’s most attractive natural venues, then sample various chilies created by local cooks. Those wishing to compete in the cook-off can enter their chilies into the competition for only $10. The winner will take home a cash prize as well as bragging rights. Those who don’t make chili but enjoy eating it may sample the entries plus a dessert and a drink for $5 ($3 for a kid’s meal including a hot dog and macaroni and cheese.) All proceeds support NAMI’s free classes and support groups. To enter the competition or register to attend the event, contact NAMI Wood County at 419-352-0626 or Since 2012 NAMI Wood County has held its Walk for Mental Health in Wood County. Walkers show their support for family and friends who live with mental illness and help reduce the stigma that still haunts these conditions. The chili cook-off was added to the walk last year, and was well received. Organizers hope both the 2016 winners and new chefs will bring their best efforts to this year’s competition. Other activities including banner-making and bracelet-making will round out this family-friendly event. Representatives of local behavioral health agencies will be on hand to answer questions as well. For over 30 years NAMI Wood County has provided free…

Scruci joins other districts questioning state report cards

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The state may need a refresher course on how to do testing. Once again, Bowling Green City School District scored low in some areas on its state report card. But according to Superintendent Francis Scruci, that may say more about the tests than the school district. In the area of “achievement” – which represents the number of students who passed the state tests and how well they performed on them – Bowling Green scored a D. The sting from that grade is lessened a bit by the similar grades earned across the state, Scruci said. Of the 607 districts scored, only 22 got an A, 15 scored a B, 22 got a C, and 58 earned a D. The vast majority – 490 – earned an F. “As educators we know when we create tests for classrooms, there should be a bell-shaped curve,” Scruci said. The fact that most districts failed, raises “obvious questions.” “This is a pretty good illustration that this system is not working,” he said about the state grade cards. Scruci is not alone in his harsh opinion of the state tests. Many Wood County superintendents share his criticisms. “Everyone is frustrated with the system itself,” he said. “The system is flawed. If a teacher were to give a test and get scores like that,” they would do it again. In addition to the “achievement” area, the other grades given to Bowling Green schools include: D for gap closing. This shows how well schools are meeting the performance expectations for the most vulnerable populations of students in English language…

BG brush pickup to begin Sept. 25

Beginning Monday, Sept. 25, the City of Bowling Green will be conducting a brush pickup. Brush should not be placed curbside any sooner than one week prior to pickup. Brush and limbs should be placed curbside loosely, not bundled. Stumps and limbs in excess of 12 inches in diameter and 10 feet in length will not be picked up. Brush mixed with leaves or other yard debris will not be collected. The city, at its discretion, will not collect entire trees placed in the right of way as a result of work by a contractor or are of such size and multitude, that it surpasses the intent of the tree clipping collected Ordinance 94.07. This is not an unlimited brush collection. For cul-de-sacs, do not place brush in the cul-de-sac green space as it may block fire hydrants and/or it is unmanageable for city equipment to remove. There will be one citywide sweep of all four wards. Once the crew leaves a street, they will not return. Pickup is by ward and not by your normal refuse collection day. Brush collection is only for locations which receive city refuse collection. To ensure pick up of your brush – it should be placed curbside by 7 a.m. on Sept. 25. Any questions regarding the brush pickup should be directed to the Public Works Department at 419-354-6227.

Path to U.S. citizenship nearly impossible for most

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   To those who wonder why undocumented immigrants don’t just wait their turn to get into the U.S., Eugenio Mollo Jr. has an answer. It can take 20 years of waiting – and that’s for the lucky ones. “It’s not that easy,” Mollo said Thursday evening during a program on immigration sponsored by LaConexion’s Immigrant Solidarity Committee. The U.S. is operating under immigration law that was adopted in 1952. Prior to then, the law was updated every seven to 12 years. “Now we’ve gone 65 years without any comprehensive immigration reform,” said Mollo, an attorney with Advocates for Basic Legal Equality. Meanwhile, the U.S. now has up to 12 million undocumented immigrants. The nation allows 226,000 Visas to be issued a year, based on family connections, employers who need particular expertise, or due to humanitarian issues. The antiquated system, Mollo said, permits no more than 7 percent of those Visas to go to immigrants of a particular nation. That is a problem for India, China, Mexico and the Philippines, he said. To explain the current system, Mollo used the example of a U.S. citizen having two siblings who wanted a Visa. The sibling from Uganda would have to wait 13 years from when they first applied. The sibling from Mexico would wait at least 19 years. The wait time is likely much longer now. “So many people have applied,” Mollo said. “My job is to help these people climb this immigration ladder,” he said. But the climb is difficult, especially with the federal government toughening standards and considering ending some options for refugees….

Anti-pipeline charter amendment now in limbo

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   The legal battle to get an anti-pipeline charter amendment on Bowling Green’s ballot has come down to two sides – those who want to stop the pipeline and those who would want the jobs building it. On Thursday morning, the petition submitted by citizen activists worried about the effect of Nexus pipeline on the city’s water plant was challenged by a Bowling Green man who is a member of the local plumber-pipefitter union. The Wood County Board of Elections took information from both sides and will come back with a decision. Last week, the Wood County Board of Elections voted to allow the November ballot to include the controversial charter amendment. However, then a Bowling Green resident, David W. Espen, filed a protest with the board of elections about the charter amendment. Espen was not present at Thursday’s hearing, but was represented by the Columbus law firm McTigue & Colombo. Espen’s objections cite two possible problems with the charter amendment petition – one questioning the number of valid signatures, and the other questioning the authority of the city to grant the power requested in the petition. The complaint zeroed in on five specific signatures. Normally, that might not matter if a handful of signatures were found to be invalid. However, the pipeline petition had only one more signature than required to appear on the ballot. A total of 1,230 signatures were collected on the petition. By law, to make it on the ballot, the petition needed 714 valid signatures. It had 715. The five signatures in question are from Bowling Green State…

Scam under investigation involving fictitious call from sheriff’s office

On Wednesday, Sept. 13, a local resident reported that he received a suspicious phone call from a subject posing as an employee of the Wood County Sheriff’s Office. The call appeared legitimate as his caller ID showed the sheriff’s office phone number 419-354-9001. The caller told him that he had a warrant for his arrest. The caller requested gift card information be provided over the telephone to post bond and avoid arrest. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office will not contact anyone via telephone regarding an arrest warrant. The Wood County Sheriff’s Office will not request or accept financial information or gift cards over the telephone to post bond. This incident is currently under investigation. If you have received a similar phone call, contact your local police department to report it. Additional information can be provided to Chief Deputy Eric Reynolds at or 419-354-9348.